Monday, January 04, 2010

Blogging against the clock!

[View up the west coast of South Island, north of Haast]

Lupins, foxgloves, blackbirds, goldfinches, poplars, elderberry bushes - just a few of the very many things the early British settlers brought in to make them feel at home. One thing they didn't have to import (indeed couldn't) was the weather. It must have been reassuring to find that it was quite as unsettled as it is at home - and indeed is quite as much of a talking point. We have certainly had a good range with fronts blowing across and giving us heavy rain and bright sunshine with very little time of each other. We were lucky enough to have the best of weather for the approach to Mount Cook, NZ's highest mountain, which looked spectacular in the brightness. It has also been sunny (amidst the rain) ever since, particularly the second day at Wanaka, the little sister of Queenstown (NZ's extreme sports capital). We did in fact venture down there this afternoon and dropped in on the original bungee jumping site, on an old bridge high over a swift river. For some reason it was the girls not the boys who got a soaking when they plunged down to its surface. [Incidentally, it's not being ageist to say that - very few of the jumpers were over 25, let alone half my age!]

We will be running the gauntlet of the weather from tomorrow as we work our way back up the west coast. We'd been advised to postpone that part as the weather of the last few days was not friendly - but it won't be much better after 6th: only tomorrow is sort-of guaranteed to be fair. So, for my birthday, we've booked a Jetboat (driven by jets of water) up a river from the coast into the interior. After that, it's glaciers and jadestone country but as for the weather, we'll have to take what we get!

[at that point the time on the computer ran out]

Later: The birthday ride on the jet-boat went well, quite exciting without qualifying for adrenaline rush really - and educational too. At $199 for less than 3 hours it still ranked as much better value than $175 for less than 10 seconds for a bungy jump, which we saw but declined (!) in Queenstown. NZ is in danger of pricing itself out of quite a lot of the market - although the exchange rate with the pound doesn't helps us Poms.


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